Change Your DNS Service
Even the fastest broadband connection can feel slow if it takes a long time to pull up each website you want to visit. This problem is due to something called the Domain Name System (DNS) and slowness in your ISP's DNS server -- and can be corrected.
You see, every website is hosted on a web server, which is a fancy type of computer connected to the Internet. To identify the millions of such servers, each server has its own unique address, called an IP address, that looks something like this: 22.214.171.1243.
Of course, you don't type this address into your web browser when you want to visit a website. What you type is the URL or website address, that looks something like this: http://www.websiteaddress.com. The URL, then, is an alias for the site's true address. What a DNS server does is link the site's easy-to-remember URL with its hard-to-remember IP address.
When you connect to the Internet via your Internet service provider (ISP), your URL requests are sent to that ISP's DNS server. That's a simple enough process -- until your ISP's DNS server starts to get bogged down. When that happens, it takes longer for the DNS server to look up the IP addresses for the URLs you enter.
Unfortunately, many ISP DNS servers are notoriously slow. The result is that it takes longer to load any web page you want to visit. It's not the connection that's slow -- it's the ability of your ISP to look up the web pages you want to view.
You can work around this issue by directing your URL requests to a different DNS server. To that end, several sites offer alternative DNS services, promising faster lookups and thus faster web browsing. The two most popular services (and their DNS server addresses) are:
- DNS Advantage (http://www.dnsadvantage.com, primary 126.96.36.199, secondary 188.8.131.52)
- OpenDNS (http://www.opendns.com, primary 184.108.40.206, secondary 220.127.116.11)
To use one of these third-party DNS services, you have to configure Windows to send all URL requests to the new DNS server. It's a network-related procedure, not a browser-related one. Here’s how to do it in Windows 7:
- Click the Start button and click Control Panel.
- When the Control Panel opens, click Network and Internet.
- When the next page appears, click Network and Sharing Center.
- When the Network and Sharing Center opens, click Change Adapter Settings (in the Tasks list).
- When the list of your current connections appears, right-click the icon for a connection and select Properties.
- When the Properties dialog box appears, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the Properties button.
- When the next Properties dialog box appears, select the General tab.
- Go to the bottom portion of the screen and select the Use the Following DNS Server Addresses option.
- Enter the DNS service's preferred DNS server address into the Preferred DNS Server box.
- Enter the DNS service's alternate DNS server address into the Alternate DNS Server box.
- Click OK.
With Windows thus reconfigured, you'll now access the third-party DNS server whenever you're web browsing -- which should be slightly faster than what you're used to with your ISP's DNS server.